Ranking of the fastest military aircraft currently in service

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Fighter jets have come a long way since the early days of WWI. Even though air combat is not as common as it used to be, the need for high-flying aircraft is necessary, and advancements in technology mean that more planes are capable of speeds that would once have been considered science fiction. Many large planes like the Lockheed or the Stealth Bomber are retired, but several of these lightning-fast engineering marvels remain in service today.

Notably, some of the more powerful fighter jets are not as fast due to the heavy weaponry they have. The fastest jets are the lightest and carry the most risk. Yet, they can also provide amazing performance in combat or steady flight.

Here are the ten fastest military aircraft currently in service, ranked from slowest to fastest.


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Chengdu J-10 Mach 2.2

Chengdu-J-10S-operated-by-chinese-air-force-1090x500

With a name like the Lusty Dragon, the Chengdu J-10 should be an impressive pilot. Intended for both air-to-air combat and strike missions, the J-10 can reach Mach 2.2 thanks to the Russian Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN [27] Motor series 3.

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It is in the process of being upgraded with the WS-10B, which means it could achieve higher speeds. Combined with its sleek shape and sharp maneuverability, this Dragon can take flight in battle well.

9
MiG-35 Fulcrum: Mach 2.25

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Making its official debut in 2019, the MiG-35 Fulcrum is Russia’s latest fighter jet and promises to be one of the best of all time. It really is an upgraded MiG-29 with somewhat slower speeds due to heavier armor and weaponry.

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It comes in two versions, single and double, while being powered by two FADEC RD-33MK Morskaya Osa fans. It’s married to an advanced tracking system and even rumors that Russia wants to attach lasers to it. It would make this Fulcrum more formidable than ever.

8
Su-35 Flanker-E: Mach 2.25

Sukhoi-Su-35-Flanker-E

via air force technology

Although one of the most recent jets in service in Russia, the SU-35 Flanker-E has its origins in the late 1980s. The collapse of the USSR delayed its development and it eventually took off in 2014. The fact that it has a Saturn AL-31 engine originally developed for a rocket proves that it can roar at top speeds while handling well.

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via reddit

It is also equipped with the best modern weapons and radar technology, much of which is still secret to those outside of Russia. Although widely exported, the best flankers are used by Russia in an attempt to gain an advantage in a possible fight.

Related: Ranking The Most Expensive Fighter Jets Ever Used By The Military

7
Flogger MiG-23: Mach 2.35

Via Pinterest

Despite a nickname that sounds like a 1980s video game, the MiG-23 Flogger has gained a reputation as a mind-blowing fighter. The titanium-clad R-35 turbojet, developing 28,600 pounds of thrust, was one of the most powerful of its time and easily pushed the Flogger to Mach 2.35.

Mig-23 Flogger

Via Pinterest

It could be an unwieldy fighter (especially during landings), but the wing sweeps were surprisingly adaptive and even better than some jets today. Still in limited service among exporters, the Flogger might be underestimated among Soviet fighters.

6
Su-27SK: Mach 2.35

Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker in flight

Via Militarywatchmagazine

Designed as a direct competitor to the Tomcat and the F-15, the Su-27 (codenamed Flanker) was faster than most Soviet aircraft of the time. It was primarily intended as an escort for large bombers and therefore designed more for speed / maneuverability than serious weaponry. Ironically, its debut came just as glasnost was on the verge of reducing the Soviet armed forces.

Flanker Sukhoi SU-27

Via Pinterest

It is lighter and less armored than other Russian planes, which means it does not see serious combat but is still used today for escort missions and although there have been Recent upgrades, the Su-27SK is still one of the best “last gasps” of the USSR military classic.

Related: These Are The Fastest Fighter Jets In The World

5
Shenyang D-11: Mach 2.35

Via the diplomat

This leading Chinese fighter is an upgrade from the old MIG models they used before. Surprisingly enough, the J-11 was originally powered by a British Rolls-Royce Spey 512 engine, but was later replaced by a Shenyang WS-10. There was actually a controversy with Russia claiming that China was copying the Su-27SK, but China insisted it was an original design.

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In 2014, a J-11 intercepted a P-18 Poseidon, proving the craft’s capabilities as an impressive fighter jet and giving China an edge in the fighter jet game.

4
F-15E Strike Eagle: Mach 2.5

A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 335th Fighter Squadron launches flares during a local training mission over North Carolina, December 17, 2010. (US Photo Air Force by Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller)

Needing a head start over the Soviets in the 1980s, the United States helped build the Strike Eagle, which remains one of the military’s fastest jets. It is also one of the most used from Operation Desert Storm to Afghanistan and Iraq.

McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle

Via Aerocorner

The weaponry and technology are as high end as it gets, and the upgrades ensure it’s always ready to fly faster than anything in the U.S. Air Force’s arsenal. A stealth variant is available, but even a regular Strike Eagle lives up to its name as a fast jet that’s ready to attack at high speed.

Related: These Are All The Fifth Generation Super Advanced Fighter Jets That There Are Today

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MiG-31E: Mach 2.83

Mig 31 Foxhound

Say what you like about the Soviet Union, but when they built a fighter plane, they made it last. The Mikoyan MiG-31, codenamed Foxhound, was produced in 1975 and is expected to remain in service beyond 2030. Designed to do what the MiG-25 could not (be aerodynamic and handle well at low altitudes) The Foxhound has also broken the mold of advanced radar and weapon tracking systems, giving it a leg up over other Western nations.

MiG-31 Foxhound

Via acecombat.fandom.com

A two-seater aircraft, it can approach Mach 3, and the fact that it will continue for at least another decade proves its incredible power as a fighter jet.

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MiG-25 Foxbat: Mach 3.2

Mig-25 interceptor

Via Wallpaper Abyss

Although not as popular as it used to be, the MiG-25 Foxbat still has limited service in Russia. The fact that an aircraft last produced in 1984 is still in use today means it must be good, and the Foxbat really is. When it was introduced in 1964, it was the most advanced fighter aircraft ever seen and still capable of achieving tremendous speeds and performance.

Mig-25 Foxbat - two-seater

Via Mig Flug

It was such a well-kept secret that it took Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko to defect in 1976 for the United States to even realize what the Russians had. The fact that it is still in use proves how much of a revolutionary fighter jet and a triumph of Soviet military engineering.

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Boeing X-37: Mach 25

X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle on Track

via AF.mil

The US Space Force is still a branch of the military. This makes the Boeing X-37, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, technically the fastest US military aircraft. Originally intended for use by NASA, it was transferred to the military following the Columbia disaster.

X-37B sunset before

Via Boeing

The point is, most of what the X-37 is actually used for is labeled top secret, although it is likely being used for experimental purposes. Thanks to the single Aerojet engine, this thing can easily reach Mach 25.


Chengdu J-20 on the runway

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